Environmental groups are standing with the activist Movement for Black Lives amid outrage against the alleged murder of George Floyd, but critics say the green groups’ activism belies their policy preferences that would disproportionately harm black Americans.
The environmental groups Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace, and 350.org have all voiced support for the coalition group Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), even signing an open letter endorsing M4BL’s policy objectives. All three groups also push radical environmental policies such as a Green New Deal as popularized by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D).
Center for Biological Diversity Executive Director Kieran Suckling called Floyd’s death “horrific” and asserted that “institutional racism” has killed thousands of black Americans. Greenpeace tweeted a thread of protest pictures on June 4 and promoted “#DefundPolice” in a call to strip taxpayer funding from law enforcement. 350.org North America director Tamara Toles O’Laughlin said in a statement that “dismantling white supremacy” was a necessary step to meeting their climate goals and ending fossil fuel production.
Former United Nations Ambassador Ken Blackwell, a black conservative, slammed environmentalists for empathizing with BLM protesters while advocating environmental and energy policies that would make black communities more “marginalized.”
“If radical green groups truly want to show solidarity with the black community, they can drop their push for extremist policies that would hurt those communities,” Blackwell told The Daily Wire in a statement. “Radical policies like the green new deal that raise the cost of driving to work and heating our homes would target the African American community and would make us even more vulnerable and marginalized than we already are.”
Each environmental group supports an eventual end to fossil fuel energy production and transitioning to 100% renewable energy, excluding nuclear, hydropower, and most other alternatives except wind and solar, according to an open letter to Congress signed by hundreds of environmental organizations.
The energy goals of the Green New Deal would impose immense costs on taxpayers, according to an analysis by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). The conservative think tank calculated the cost of phasing out fossil fuels while transitioning to renewable energy in several states, finding that in Florida, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania, “the [Green New Deal] would cost a typical household more than $70,000 in the first year of implementation, approximately $45,000 for each of the next four years, and more than $37,000 each year thereafter.”
Reaching America President Derrick Hollie, whose group focuses on black communities, said that the policies pushed by the environmental groups undercut black communities already struggling from the coronavirus pandemic that has disproportionately hit minorities and violent riots.
“With black communities ablaze, the same nearly uniformly white environmental extremists assure us of their solidarity while at the same time trying to kill high-paying oil and gas jobs that have been the cornerstones of progress in lifting up working-class minority communities,” Hollie told The Daily Wire in a statement.
“Any program such as their Green New Deal that makes energy more expensive or jeopardizes jobs is counter-productive, reckless, and wrong,” Hollie said. “We will need American oil and gas more than ever, especially in communities of color that continue to rely on low-cost fuels for economic sustenance and opportunity.”
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